The following point has been beaten to a pulp: Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and receiver Calvin Johnson are one of the most-threatening duos in the NFL.
This past week, Stafford threw to Johnson 12 times, completing eight of those strikes for 94 yards in a 27-19 loss to the San Franciso 49ers. But the Lions would have better served themselves if they spread the ball around more often.
But then again, the 49ers defense was incredible, so suggesting that the Lions should have mixed up their play calling is a moot point.
Former Lions wide receiver Herman Moore has the utmost confidence in the Lions, Stafford, Johnson and coach Jim Schwartz. To help the Lions get the deep ball off, throwing shorter passes to Johnson may be the solution.
"I don’t think they rely too heavily on (Stafford and Johnson), but utilizing the short pass isn’t something they’ve honed in on yet (with Johnson)," Moore said. "If you can perfect that, the bigger plays will come. We used to really take advantage of the five-yard and seven-yard pass. We ran it religiously.
It’s OK to become -- early in the football game -- a possession offense. You’re just looking for holes in the zone, if it’s man-to-man, you’re looking to get the ball off real quickly."
A mixture in the way Stafford distributes the ball will open up the field and help create the shock-value bombs to Johnson.
Queue the highlight reel.
More to Lions offense than Megatron...
Moore, who holds nearly every major Lions receiving record, says Titus Young could be the X-factor in the offense. But the second-year receiver out of Boise State fades in and out of the game plan.
"I've seen him make plays; he has good hands, but then he disappears," Moore said. "I think that he could be someone who could loosen it up for the Lions. I think they’re doing a good job with pass distribution, but the more they can do that, the offense then becomes unstoppable. When they get behind, you start thinking big play, big play – it almost forces them into a situation (where Stafford has to throw to Johnson)."
With an offense like Detroit's, slow starts and stalling drives should be a passing fad as the season progresses.
"This team is really good and has the ability to put defenses on their heels," Moore said. "It's that simple."
Get the run game going...
Moore likes Kevin Smith's abilities. Working him into the game plan and letting him rattle off effective three- and four-yard runs is exactly what the Lions need.
"The run game should be more or less efficient," Moore said. "Schwartz wasn’t looking for it to be a game-changer... just something to contribute and allow the Lions to balance the offense. The big play comes from the passing game.
Kevin Smith has proven that he put together big games and he’s proven that he can be a dependable back. They have to get that three to four yards a pop to get that consistency they need to see out of the running game."
Early success with Smith and Joique Bell is a recipe for quick starts offensively instead of playing the role of comeback kids each week. The Lions face a struggling Tennessee Titans defense this week, so it could be go-time for Smith and Bell.
"I think it’s a good time for the running game to get on track; it’s a good opportunity for them, offensively, to get off to a fast start," Moore said. "It’s hurt them the previous two weeks, they’ve played catch-up football…"
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